| March 12, 2012

Earning Credits for More Books


By Tina Tam and Joseph Botwey

Daniel is so immersed in reading, he doesn’t hear it when they call him for food.

Meet Daniel Owusu, a 14-year-old junior high school student in Worldreader’s iREAD program. Daniel lives with his family on a farm in the tropical forest near the village, which makes for a long walk to school. He is the only one of the six children in his family to have a Kindle, and he loves it with passion. According to his grandmother, Daniel often gets so immersed in his reading that he does not hear when they call him for food. Daniel wants to become a doctor.

Daniel was one of the 25 students who earned $8 of Kindle bookstore credit through their excellent attendance in iREAD Vacation School. Daniel used the credit to buy Dusk World, an interactive book, which incidentally is a popular category among iREAD students. Daniel had also downloaded the trial audio version of Steve Job’s biography. He told us that The Magic Treehouse series by Mary Pope Osborne is his favorite, and when our star volunteer Carl visited Daniel showed him his collection of all 44 titles. He is currently on book five, and plans to finish all of them.

Now, you might be wondering: What did other students buy?  Their interests are diverse.  Some primary students downloaded titles like Snug as a Bug (I Can Read!) and Big Egg (Step into Reading), while junior high students downloaded stories like Toward the Goal: The Kaka Story and The Hunger Games. There was also practical active content like Easy Calculator and The Periodic Table of the Elements, and fun ones like Word Search.

These findings help us provide books that suit the preferences of Daniel and all his friends and also come up with recommendations for them to download. But we know they’re already doing a good job on their own. When Joseph (operations manager in Ghana) first announced the winners of Vacation School, some of the students quickly pulled up their wish lists and went hunting for good reads with help from their parents, teachers, and friends. Jacqueline, a primary school teacher in iREAD, said: “I haven’t seen students so absorbed in their books like this before. I’ve hardly seen students discussing or recommending a book.”

No wonder teachers and students were excited to find out about the incentive card program. We’ll tell you more about that in Part 2.